When Patient Satisfaction is Bad Medicine

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Monday, March 28, 2016

Editor’s note: The complexities of the opioid epidemic demand a comprehensive approach response. This practice perspective provides physician insights into one course of action that could contribute to the solution. By Joan Papp, MD, Case Western Reserve University and Metro Health Medical Center in Cleveland, and Jason Jerry, MD, Cleveland Clinic Foundation Pain management and the opioid epidemic The United States is confronting a tragic opioid epidemic—and the situation is getting worse. More American lives were lost in 2014 from drug overdose than during any previous year on record. According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the drug overdose death rate from opioids increased by 200 percent between the years 2000 and 2014. To put this in perspective, during the 10-year period spanning 2004-2013, a total of 181,000 people in this country lost their lives to prescription pain medication or heroin overdoses. In the treatment world, we tend to view prescription narcotics and heroin as sides of the same coin because they affect the brain in the same way. In working with patients who are addicted to heroin, we have noted that our patients most often report developing an addiction to prescription narcotics before transitioning to heroin. The motivation to switch from pain relievers to heroin is often driven by economics, as heroin is about 10 percent of the cost of an equivalent dose of a prescription narcotic. Armed with this knowledge and the fact that the United States consumes 75 percent of the world’s narcotic pain medication—despite only comprising 5 percent of the world’s population—it would be easy for people to blame the doctors for our narcotic woes. Read more at AMA Wire.